Read below about the difference between DSD, DSF, DFF files in audio.
DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a one-bit audio format for high-resolution music. The format is based on sigma-delta modulation. Read details about DSD >
Music in DSD format may be stored in DSF and DFF files (.dsf and .dff file extensions respectively). Both DFF and DSF are DSD files.
I.e. DSD files is a common term, that includes both DFF and DSF audio files.
DSD versus DSF versus DFF files
However, besides these kinds of files, SACD ISO (.iso extension, 1-bit audio ISO) is DSD file too. SACD ISO contains text metadata, that may be extracted during SACD ISO to DSD conversion.
Check DSD music downloads >
Look at DSD file infographic >
DSF and DFF files are able to contains binary identical audio content.
In .DFF audio content may be losslessly compressed. But it does not impact sound quality.
Sound quality for both file formats is defined by:
Read more about DSD and its sound quality here >
Sometimes one-bit DSD is considered a more qualitative alternative for multi-bit PCM. However, it is not a simple matter, that is defined by implementation. Read more:
All DSD files (DSF, DFF, ISO) may be converted to another DSD format without losses. Such conversion should not alter sample rate and apply any processing ("bit-perfect").
DSD resampling and other processing (even elementary gain changing) lose quality, comparable with PCM resampling. However, it is not a big matter for pro-audio processing.
DSD playback may be implemented two ways:
In general, the second option is preferable. But real result depends on hardware and software implementation.
Check FREE DSD player list >
Check FREE DSD audio downloads >
Read more about the players here > and here >
Read more about DSD and PCM DAC comparison >
Playback sound quality is the same for both DFF and DSF.
DSF and DFF on DSD file player
DFF file doesn't support music metadata (song name, album, performer, artwork) standard way. However, the metadata may be stored in ID3 format in DFF file's chunk (internal data block). For access to the metadata, DFF file player must be able to recognize ID3-chunks.
DSF specification supports the metadata. DSF audio player may have issues with artwork format, size and resolution.
To playback multichannel music at a stereo DSD player, the music sould be downmixed into 2.0 "on fly". Sound quality of downmixing is implementation matter. To save hard disk space, you can pre-downmix music.
Read more about DSD players >
Current DSF specification notes raw uncompressed packing only .
DFF may be stored as uncompressed as compressed by DST (Direct Stream Transfer) method .
From sound quality point of view, for editing DSD files, file format does not matter.
Read more about DSD editing >
DSF is an audio file that contains DSD audio stream. Read more...
No. DSD has advantages and disadvantages comparing PCM - its competitor.
No. DSD is an audio format. DSF files contain audio data in DSD format.
DSD and FLAC are both audio formats that are designed for audiophile applications. Both ones provide high sound quality in different ways.
You can listen to DSF files with audio player software...
DSF files can be opened with:
Read how you can convert DSF to mp3...
You can convert DSF files to FLAC according to this manual...
Yes. DSD may be streamed. Read more...
Author: Yuri Korzunov (Audiophile Inventory's founder),
Audio Basis - articles about audio
January 4, 2023 updated | since October 1, 2017